What I do Is Live. How I Pray Is Breathe

Incorporate Catholic Faith Into Your Daily Life Through Contemplative Spirituality

Thomas Merton's Insights on Contemplative Prayer

Welcome to ContemplativePrayer.com.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106.

Merton Walsh and Mary Tobin

Sister Mary Luke Tobin SL was a mentor of Thomas Merton at the nearby Sisters of Loretto Convent. She was one of the only fifteen women invited to the second Vatican Council, and the only American woman of the three women religious who participated in the Council's planning meetings.

This is a website for the purpose of shining light on a beautiful and ancient Christian practice through the eyes of a very special person, Thomas Merton, a mystic, Catholic monk, scholar, and good friend. Contemplative spirituality is as accessible as breathing. It is a beautiful way to incorporate our Catholic faith into our daily life. Thomas Merton taught others how to see and experience God. Join me as Merton meets us where we are.

I purchased this domain in 2021 for the purpose of sharing Thomas Merton's Teachings On Prayer with others. I bought his book No man is an island, eleven years prior, in 2010, because I was interested in John Donne's Meditation XVII.
But I did not read the book in 2010.

During a move in the summer of 2021, I unpacked a box of books. Something happened the moment I picked up the book, a supernatural interest that hit me out of the blue, like a rush of wind. This moment was the spark igniting a flame, a flame of interest and curiosity in Thomas Merton and in contemplative prayer that has not diminished in over two years. In my first lesson, I discovered the knowledge and wisdom buried in a box for ten years, Thomas Merton's book.

The Catholic Church has had Thomas Merton for over 75 years, and yet few know of him. Many Catholics have wrong ideas about Merton through misunderstandings of him and his teaching, but also because others have misused him and his publications to further their own social or political agendas.

When I searched for contemplative prayer on Google in 2021, nothing came up about Thomas Merton at all. The mission of ContemplativePrayer.com is to bring Thomas Merton's Christian prayer practices, his peace, his understanding, and comfortable words to people who do not know him, those in their first half of life.

In his book "Falling Upwards, A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life", Father Richard Rohr explains that the fundamental task of the first half of life is creating the self, a proper container for one's life. In this season, we become who we are through our relationships and our environments. We understand who we are through questions such as "What makes me significant," "Where do I belong," "How will I live," "Who can I depend on", and "Who loves me".

Thomas Merton shows us how to discover who we are and answer life's most fundamental questions through our relationship with a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our relationship with God is developed through prayer communion with God.

As I came to know Thomas Merton through his writings, he became a spiritual teacher, beloved mentor, and friend. Merton teaches prayer, worship, and mystical connection with Christ, not only through his words but also through the example of his life, his Opus Dei. He teaches us how to truly see and delight in the beauty of nature and how to find joy in our lives through awareness of what we already have. We learn how to love each other and the earth as God loves and how to continue Christ's work on the earth through Christian action.

Thomas Merton is right now in eternal contemplation with God, closer than breath to the Holy Spirit, present with Christ. He is actively praying for me, for you, and for the world.

I hope you will find comfort here and that you will find encouragement in your spiritual walk, both respite and fuel for the daily struggles of life. Thomas Merton understands all of your struggles, failures, and shame, your grief and loss, and your loneliness. He was a rejected child, an orphan, homeless, a failed student, a bad kid, lost. Merton did not allow his struggles and failure to define him; rather, he obeyed the call of the Holy Spirit and chose a life of holiness and sacrifice.

Merton's comfortable, musical words guide and encourage us when we are in despair; they nourish us through reminders to partake of the gifts we possess, what we already have, and the spirit of Christ available to us.

We only have to open our eyes and see that no man is an island; we are connected, flesh and bones of a larger body, the body of Christ.

Come to the silence, clear your mind, wait in hopeful anticipation in the stillness, practice, have patience, pray the psalms, breathe, clear your mind, rest, and refresh.

Open your heart in wonder; look, can you see? Christ is here, waiting for you.

Thomas Merton's Teachings on Prayer

About Me

My name is Farah Buck, and I am a doctoral student in nursing at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. My husband Stuart and I are Catholic converts; we have six children and have been married for almost 30 years. Coincidently, we lived in Kentucky for one year, 2001, and that happened to be the year we were received into the Catholic Church.

Thomas Merton's spirituality of imperfection, Merton's resiliency and witness, and his prayers have been transformative in my life and what I hope is my first half of life.

Thank you for visiting this website, and I encourage you to share Thomas Merton's Christian witness and contemplative spirituality with others.

To learn even more about Thomas Merton, go to merton.org and join the International Thomas Merton Society (ITMS)! The next meeting is in 2025 in Denver, Colorado!

Thomas Merton's Teachings on Prayer